Interview: All Night Radio

by anthony happel

Short band interviews often suck because a short interview doesn’t allow for the kind of give and take required to flesh out someone’s personality, if you actually do find someone who has that much personality to offer. Its either the same damn questions answered with tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, or an exercise in self-reference. So with that in mind, I fired a fistful of asinine questions at Dave Scher and Jimi Hey of All Night Radio, who recently released their mind-expanding record, “Spirit Stereo Frequency” on Sub Pop Records. These guys were no shrinking violets; they obliged my foolishness and answered with pointed evasiveness.

*All Night Radio broke up shortly after this interview, due to creative differences.

What was the first record you ever bought?
DAVE: OMD – “Forever Live And Die” 7”
JIMI: It was a cassette compilation called the “Kings Of Rap.” My rough guess is that the year I purchased it was 1983 and I was 5 years old at the time. It had all the greats of the day, like Run-DMC, Fat Boys, Whodini, UTFO, etc.

How does the songwriting approach in All Night Radio differ from that of Beachwood Sparks and other bands you’ve been in?
DAVE: All Night Radio permits wider historical/aesthetic sweeps of styles and suits a vaster spectrum of human and non-human occasions. Also, Beachwood Sparks did not have Rainbow Jeremy for new arrangement techniques; and they weren’t sponsored by Soul Glo.
JIMI: In Beachwood Sparks it was more of an organic process, where as in this band we just beat the shit out of each other Fight Club-style until the one who’s the most weakened and bloodied has to write the song while the winner ridicules him while doing so by way of urination and other vile acts.

What do you think of all the nostalgic psych-folk comparisons the record is receiving?
D: It makes me nostalgic for the days of flogging. Mashed potatoes.
J: I don’t think psychiatry and folk music mix, so I’m against it.

What record could you absolutely not live without?
D: The holding breath while driving through tunnels record.
J: There’s too many of them. At this moment, some that come to mind are Beach Boys ”Smile”, Milk N Cookies “Self-titled”, Disco Inferno ”Di Go Pop”, The Summer Hits ”Beaches and Canyons”, Outkast ”Speakerboxx/The Love Below”, Incredible String Band ”The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter”, The Clash ”Sandinista” an album of music from Bali called, “Music From the Morning of the World.” That’s a hard question. Every good record is my favorite.

What’s always in your refrigerator?
D: A colder temperature, beer, asparagus and cat food.
J: These days not much. The money tree in my backyard died recently, so the fridge situation isn’t as “Iron Chef” as I like it to be.
Dave, where’d you get the Mao jacket you’re wearing on the cover of the record?
D: It’s from Eternia.

How does living in smog-ridden, overcrowded LA affect your psyches and your music?
D: It’s a desert. You have to be resourceful here and know how to get the good inputs. The coasts aren’t smog-ridden. The city empties out at 8:30 PM. And, of course, me and Jimi have gills.

Why does pop radio suck so badly?
D: Because the giant teat that is corporate business entity feeds a potent green milk.

What’s the inspiration for the song, “Sky Bicycle”?
D: Lots of musical inspirations and eyes-closed informations. Also Cromwell Dixon, a 14-year-old aeronaut who built a sky bicycle at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Who’s your favorite member of the Byrds? The Eagles?
D: I like Gene Clark and Renny Jukbox.
J: The Eagles can suck my dick. As for the Byrds, I like Gene Clark.

How do you pull off the All Night Radio stuff live?
D: We tug.
J: Bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, melodica, a laptop and three dudes.

Bush, Kerry or Nader?
J: Fuck all those losers. The whole voting system is a sham. The only reason for it existing is to trick the people into thinking that they have power. Because if everyone knew what a waste of time it was they would get unruly and rebel, and that’s not in the government’s best interest. If things are really going to change the U.S. government has to be overthrown. Either that, or we just sit tight and wait for December 21, 2012 to roll around and watch the poles shift and our imaginations become the ruling class.